By Sara Levinson
The Book Club of the Orange County Public Library meets every second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 in the meeting room of the library. No registration is required, and everyone is welcome.
On September 8 we will be reading The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge. A few of us have mentioned Elizabeth Goudge when we spoke of authors we liked. This particular book is about a woman who is left a country cottage by elderly relative who she doesn’t even remember and what happens when she moves into her new home. Although I don’t remember all the details, I do remember really liking the book. There are many beautiful moments, and I remember that it was very well written. The author has fallen out of fashion as she isn’t read much any more. I do hope that she is one whose work will stick around. She is well worth getting to know.
The Island at the Center of the World: the Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America by Russell Shorto will be the October 13 selection. According to Goodreads: “When the British wrested New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, the truth about its thriving, polyglot society began to disappear into myths about an island purchased for 24 dollars and a cartoonish peg-legged governor. But the story of the Dutch colony of New Netherland was merely lost, not destroyed: 12,000 pages of its records–recently declared a national treasure–are now being translated. Drawing on this remarkable archive, Russell Shorto has created a gripping narrative–a story of global sweep centered on a wilderness called Manhattan–that transforms our understanding of early America. The Dutch colony pre-dated the “original” thirteen colonies, yet it seems strikingly familiar. Its capital was cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic, and its citizens valued free trade, individual rights, and religious freedom. Their champion was a progressive, young lawyer named Adriaen van der Donck, who emerges in these pages as a forgotten American patriot and whose political vision brought him into conflict with Peter Stuyvesant, the autocratic director of the Dutch colony. The struggle between these two strong-willed men laid the foundation for New York City and helped shape American culture. The Island at the Center of the World uncovers a lost world and offers a surprising new perspective on our own.”
November will be one of our two annual reader’s choice meetings. This is when members share what they have been reading with each other. This is also where we get the list of books that we will use to vote on what books we will be reading in the coming months. So many interesting books are mentioned that many members have found that this meeting helps them to choose some of their personal reading, aside from those books that we have chosen to read as a club.
Our holiday book selection for December 8 is a mystery from the “classic” period, The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers. Stranded in the Fenland village of Fenchurch St. Paul on New Year’s Eve after a car accident, Lord Peter Wimsey helps ring a nine-hour peal of bells overnight after Will Thoday, one of the ringers, is stricken by influenza. Lady Thorpe, wife of Sir Henry Thorpe, the local squire, dies next morning, and Wimsey hears how the Thorpe family has been blighted for 20 years by the unsolved theft of jewels from a house guest by the butler, Deacon, and an accomplice, Cranton. Both men were imprisoned, but the jewels were never recovered. Gradually, over the course of the book, the mysteries are unraveled. There is a lot of information on bell ringing which will be new territory for many of us.